I must admit: I stole my post title from a lift-mate this morning who made this observation as we rose out of the clouds into a gorgeous blue pocket of sky and looked back down onto a valley covered in clouds: We are the sucker hole!
A sucker hole is a patch of blue sky — in a seemingly endless sky of grey or white — that suckers you into believing in the sun. It’s that glimpse that gives you hope for Vitamin D, optimism for a break in the storm (if you’re into that sort of thing), and a window into the wide open Colorado sky.
Now, I am a stormy weather skier. Afterall, you must have a storm in order to have snow. I love skiing when I can’t see a thing and have to ski by brail. But there is a reason we all love blue bird. And a blue bird powder day? Call me a sucker, but nothing beats it.
Much of the mountain today is socked in and lightly snowing. And the snow is ridiculously good everywhere. I skied a few runs under Storm Peak lift and each was better than the last. Hurricane was rolled yesterday afternoon, so it is a creamy groomer under 5 or 6 inches of new snow with a perfect hit of soft bumps on the sides. Triangle trees and Bar UE liftline got the benefit of wind out of the west and are blown in with more like 12″ to 18″ of new — no joke. Tornado is big, fast bumps under a new 8″. Cyclone is the same thing. Vortex/Drop Out is same thing. I hesitantly switched it up and headed to the Sundown side. I was worried that maybe there wasn’t as much snow or that the warm sun this past weekend made the surface a bit firm. Not the case. Twilight trees were the best I’ve skied them in years, the O’Clocks are blown in and fun. Not a scratchy turn to be had. All so, so fun.
After each run, I would hop on Storm Peak or Sundown and ride up into the bluebird. The sucker hole. The only one around. You look down on a sea of clouds and just feel so lucky to be here in this gorgeous place on this gorgeous morning. It gets me to thinking: Steamboat in general seems like the sucker hole of my life. These mountains feel like the center of things looking out at the surrounding Rocky Mountains. After 14 years, I never get tired of the beauty of my home and its pockets of enchanted trees, gargoyle rocks and cliffs, secret creeks and raging rivers. We’re blessed with great snow. Not just great but I-feel-a-little-guilty-it’s-so-incredibly-great-this-year kind of great. Being here just makes me believe that I am in the right place at the right time.
Not only is the skiing fun, but everyone is generous and happy on the lifts. Every group I rode with from out of town comes to Steamboat every year for their ski fix. And when I asked them, “Why here?” they all just gesture toward the frosted trees, the riders whooping down the runs, the incredibly great snow, the blue sky, the sparkling sun and the great attitudes of everyone around you.
So sucker me in. I believe. I am here to stay. Come on up and join in the fun.
Happy Monday skiers and riders.
Ali Givnish, Alpine skier